Attorney-Client Privilege and Child Sexual Abuse Cases
Sexual violence rarely gets discussed in our daily lives, and yet its occurrence is all too familiar. Did you know that every 98 seconds, someone in the United States falls victim to some form of sexual abuse? Even more tragically, most victims of sexual violence are under 30 years old.
It is our young and most vulnerable that fall victim to sexual violence. And so few seek out and get justice for the most personal crime done to them.
But if you want to discuss your rights and options with a lawyer, here’s what you should first know about child sexual abuse and attorney-client privilege.
Attorney-Client Privilege: How it Works
Most information that a person tells their attorney is covered by attorney-client privilege. In child sexual abuse cases, the victim can talk to the attorney about what happened to them without fear.
They can share with the attorney all of the details about what happened to them, and the attorney will hold this information with the utmost confidentiality.
The client can tell the lawyer all of the details. The lawyer is not able to share this information without permission with anyone outside of the team that is representing the client. The client has the right to waive their privilege if they see fit, but the lawyer cannot waive anything.
This privilege stays in effect when the case is closed. When a client dies, the lawyer still cannot speak a word about what they were told.
A Third-Party Caveat
When a client is talking to their lawyer, they need to do so in private. The attorney-client privilege does not cover information overheard by a third party. When speaking about sexual abuse, many clients would want to do so in private.
That said, when a person is looking for a lawyer to talk about what happened to them, they can feel safe knowing that their information will not be disclosed. They can have a consultation with several lawyers and find one they feel comfortable speaking to and representing them.
All of the information that they tell to these lawyers is covered by the attorney-client privilege even if they do not hire that attorney. They do not have to worry about their information being shared and will be protected.
When a person is the victim of sexual abuse, they should work with a lawyer to help them get justice. They can tell their lawyer anything that happened to them, and the lawyer will not speak a word of it to anyone.
Ready to Find Justice?
Finding justice after suffering sexual abuse can be scary and intimidating, but hopefully, understanding attorney-client privilege has put your mind at ease at least a little bit.